From the schoolyard to the Cannes Film Festival: The story of Christina Farah

by Elias Sakr English

25 October 2017 | 17:03

Source: by Annahar

  • by Elias Sakr
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 25 October 2017 | 17:03

A handout photo of Christina Farah.

BEIRUT: Like many of her generation, Christina Farah dreamt of the charm of Broadway and the glamour of Hollywood-- a dream that more often than not fades away as one grows older in a far away Lebanon. Or a dream that even the most passionate of artists will give up chasing, once faced with the hardships of the entertainment industry. 

But not Farah. She believed that her dream could one day come true. And it did. From a classic ballet student at the age of 4, to the voice behind many commercials, documentaries and movies, Farah worked her way to becoming the lead actor in ‘What You’re Doing is Bad’ by Farida Zahran, ‘Searching for Peace’ by Zefaan Kanwar and the web series ‘Quivr’ by CJ Squires being shot currently in New York—to name a few.

“It was an arduous and long road. But I feel that my journey has just begun,” Farah says of her early success.

A filmmaking graduate of the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts, Farah kicked off her acting career early.

In her first academic year, she participated in several theatrical plays by Nagy Souraty including ‘Amnesia 2025’, ‘Utopia’ and ‘En’kephale’ that won praise among Lebanese critics for their experimental twist, a first in the Middle East.

She also was a singer, dancer, and actress in the first Broadway concert ever done in the Middle East and Arabic speaking countries ‘One Night on Broadway’ directed by Roy Khoury.

“Most of my students were passionate. But Christina had more than just passion. She was determined, talented and hardworking,” says Roy Khoury of Farah.

“It was one of my most intense theatrical experiences. I remember being really nervous but once I got on stage, fear became my power and my drive,” Farah says.

Farah went on to participate in a number of award-winning local theatrical plays and movies including ‘Tesseract’ by Fadi El Samra and ‘The Insult’ by Ziad Doueiri.

Farah’s involvement in the film industry spanned across numerous fields. Soon after she graduated, Farah teamed up with some of her former classmates to co-produce and direct a number of local films.

Her colleague, Nina Najjar, says Farah’s ambition knows no obstacles. Najjar co-directed with Farah Waves 98'.

2015 marked one of Farah’s major early successes as a co-producer of Waves 98, a Palm D’or winner short film at the Cannes Film Festival.

 “It was a special and inspiring moment. It made me dream big,” says Farah.

One year later, Farah decided to leave to the U.S and join the Susan Batson Studio in New York City, enrolling in their acting program to further enhance her craft. Batson has coached the likes of great Hollywood and international actors from Juliette Binoche to Nicole Kidman.

 “It wasn’t easy leaving my family, friends and the place where I grew up and cherish so much. But it was worth it and I do not regret a single moment. I’m learning from some of the industry’s most talented people,” Farah says with enthusiasm.

Reine Razzouk, a longtime friend of Farah who encouraged her to leave Lebanon to pursue her dream, says she sees in her childhood companion more than just a successful actress; an opinion also shared by music producer Teddy Nasr.

“Christina speaks for ambitious women around the world. She sets an example that as a woman you can succeed and have your voices heard, literally,” says Nasr, who captured Farah’s voice many times, in reference to Farah’s success as a voice-over artist for international brands like L'Oreal, Maybelline, Cadbury, Herbal Essences and Trident among others.

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